Fifth Sunday of Easter
The Way, the Truth and the Life
Points to note
Although the theme sounds very straight forward, it is not an easy concept to get across. Of the three sub-themes, the second is the most abstract and requires a great deal of careful planning: if you do not have time (and most likely you will not), it may be easier to run through all the truths about Jesus that the children can expand on if they are asked by a friend. The third is easily linked to the story of Lazarus (cf. Lent 5) and can be used to reinforce the idea of Easter as the season of new life. The first is probably the most tangible of all, especially in forming the bridge to last Sunday’s reading of the shepherd seeing his sheep home.
Although it may be important to introduce the theme to the children, it may not help to dwell on it for too long, particularly with the younger ones. Move on to the sub-themes as smoothly as possible, where you are able to reduce them to more tangible concepts that the children can grasp.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
Explain to the children that at the Last Supper, Jesus has just prophesied the treachery of Judas and the denials of Peter. Due to this, the apostles were disheartened and Jesus was quick to console them.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John
All: Glory to you O Lord
(Jn 14: 1-12)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
if there were not, I would have told you so.
I am now going to prepare a place for you,
I shall return to take me with you;
so that you will be with me where ever I am..
You know the way to the place I am going.
Thomas said, “We do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus said:
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
If you know me, you know my Father too.
In fact, you now know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Let us see the Father and then we shall be happy.” “Have I been teaching you all this time, Philip,” said Jesus to him, “and you still do not know me?
To see me is to see the Father,
so how can you say, “let us see the Father’?
do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words do not tell you things by myself
it is the Father, who is in me, who is telling you this..
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the proof of my work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works because I am going to the Father.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
I have taken the sub-themes separately. You may pick and mix them as it fits your session or you may opt to concentrate on one and expand on it.
Have you ever lost your way, or know of some one who has? How did you or that some one find the right way? Allow them to talk of their experience. How would you make sure that you do not lose your way? Discuss getting prepared using things like maps (Does anyone know how to read a map?), making sure of the way by going through it with someone who does, learning up all the landmarks, etc. If someone were to ask you for directions, can you give them? Discuss how they are to give directions.
Also, when you get lost, you can ask directions. But you make sure you ask the right person. Similarly, we ask other Christians for directions to heaven. Just make sure you ask the right person.
Nowadays, we use GPS if we lose our way. If we are in an unfamiliar place, we tend to trust the GPS completely. What is similar to the GPS for us? The Bible. We too should trust the Bible because it is our guide when we are on unfamiliar grounds and we need some directions to lead our lives. The only difference is that we can use a GPS without referring to other people but we cannot use the Bible by ourselves.
If somebody were to ask you to tell the truth about Jesus, what would you say? Can you list out all the truths about Jesus? That he is the son of God, he died for us on the cross and his death sets is free. He is in heaven and prepares a place for us with him. You can also go through some of the key lessons that Jesus taught us.
Do not spend too much time on this as this is not a revision class. Just make sure that the children know what to say if they are asked by a friend.
What does a miserable person look like? Emphasise the fact that a miserable person does not seem to want to do anything, like someone who is tired, or sick, or even dead. Contrast this with a lively person, who seem to want to do everything, is energetic, is healthy, is just alive.
What gives us life? Discuss food and water. Discuss the intangibles like love and happiness. What is the source of all love and happiness? God, but discuss Jesus’ role in it all. Jesus gave us baptism, which gives us life (cf. Lent 3). Jesus taught us to love as he has loved us. Jesus also raised people from the dead (cf. Lent 5). It will help to revisit the lessons of the Sundays in Lent as this session will help bring them all together.